GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The “ugliest woman in the world” has been buried in her native Mexico, 153 years after her death and a tragic life performing in circuses as a freak of nature.
Julia Pastrana suffered from hypertrichosis and gingival hyperplasia, which gave her excessive facial hair and a jutting jaw, Reuters reported.
Pastrana’s appearance earned her the nickname “bear woman” or “ape woman” in circuses across the United States and Europe.
The indigenous woman was married to an American man, Theodore Lent, who profited from his wife’s condition, the BBC reported.
According to The Awl, Lent advertised his spouse in The New York Times as a “link between mankind and the ourang-outang.”
Pastrana died in 1860 after giving birth to a son who had the same excessive hair disorder and only lived for a few days, the BBC reported.
Lent apparently continued to profit from his wife and son’s appearances even after their deaths, touring with their embalmed corpses for five years, The Awl reported.
Eventually their remains ended up at the University of Oslo in Norway.
Pastrana was buried in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa on Tuesday after a campaign started by Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata to have her remains returned home.
Barbata told The New York Times that she was moved by Pastrana's sad story and felt "she deserved the right to regain her dignity."
“I hoped to help change her position as a victim to one where she can be seen in her entirety and complexity," Barbata said.